CHANOYU- Ja­panese Tea Cer­e­mony

The Diplomatic Insight - - Culture -

Sense of dis­ci­pline, grace­ful­ness, re­spect for oth­ers, re­spect for Na­ture, punc­tu­al­ity, clean­li­ness, all of these are tra­di­tional val­ues which the Ja­panese have al­ways cher­ished, and the con­cept be­hind tea cer­e­mony re­flects our ex­act mind­set Ev­ery sin­gle ac­tion in Chanoyu is minutely cal­cu­lated to achieve the high­est pos­si­ble econ­omy of move­ment, sim­plic­ity, and fi­nesse. Ev­ery sin­gle pro­ce­dure is per­formed in a very spe­cific and ex­act mo­tion. Har­mony, re­spect, pu­rity, and tran­quil­ity are the four key words to de­scribe the ba­sic con­cept of tea cer­e­mony. Wa kei sei jaku. Ja­panese tea cer­e­mony, or Chanoyu, is a per­form­ing art of pre­par­ing and pre­sent­ing pow­dered green tea in a very styl­ized and aes­thetic fash­ion. One can also re­fer to the whole set of rit­u­als, tools, ges­tures, etc. used in such cer­e­monies as tea cul­ture. All of these tea cer­e­monies and rit­u­als con­tain ab­stract­ness, sym­bol­ism and for­mal­ism to one de­gree or an­other. The man­ner in­which it is per­formed, or the art of its per­for­mance, is called Otemae. Zen Bud­dhism was a pri­mary in­flu­ence in the de­vel­op­ment of the tea cer­e­mony. The cus­tom of drink­ing tea was al­ready very pop­u­lar in China in the 8th cen­tury; tea was a very ex­pen­sive medicine, and was in­tro­duced to Ja­pan by a Bud­dhist monk Eichū in the 12th cen­tury. The cus­tom of drink­ing tea, first for medic­i­nal, and then largely also for plea­sur­able rea­sons, was al­ready wide­spread through­out China. By the 13th cen­tury, the prac­tice of drink­ing tea spread from the Bud­dhist monas­ter­ies to the up­per class, or the samu­rai war­riors, who en­joyed this high-end prac­tice as a kind of sta­tus sym­bol. So, tea cer­e­mony de­vel­oped un­der the in­flu­ence of Zen Bud­dhism, the aim of which is to pu­rify one's mind. An­other im­por­tant con­cept is ichigou-ichie, which means “trea­sure ev­ery en­counter, be­cause it may not come to you again”. The same peo­ple gath­ered here to­day may not see each other again; so we must re­ceive each other hos­pitably and­with re­spect. This is the spirit of the Ja­panese tea cer­e­mony. Sweets are usu­ally taken be­fore the tea so that the bit­ter­ness of the green tea blends in well with the sweet­ness of the con­fec­tionery. Be­fore drink­ing the tea, host raises tea bowl and bows. It means that host is mak­ing her or him­slef hum­ble, and show­ing re­spect and ap­pre­ci­a­tion to ev­ery­thing around her: to the tea mas­ter who pre­pares the tea for her, to Na­ture, to the earth, to fate that brought her here, and to all the peo­ple shar­ing this­mo­ment to­gether.

The first sip makes you free from all evils. The sec­ond sip makes you do the good deeds.the third sip gives you power to save the­world. ( Zen Bud­dhist teach­ing) Turns it around again so that the front is now fac­ing the usher. Clean­ing the uten­sils and putting ev­ery­thing back to its proper place are very im­por­tant in Chanoyu. Watch­ing the uten­sils be­ing­wiped and cleaned will help pu­rify your mind and gain com­po­sure. The host has to plan a per­fectly cus­tom­ized tea gath­er­ing suit­able for the oc­ca­sion; he will choose the right uten­sils, the dé­cor such as the ce­ram­ics and flower ar­range­ment, or the hang­ing scrolls that are ap­pro­pri­ate. So, you have to be cultured and re­fined to ap­pre­ci­ate the tea gath­er­ing you are in­vited to at­tend. In the old days in Ja­pan, the knowl­edge of tea cer­e­mony was con­sid­ered to be a req­ui­site for young ladies be­fore mar­riage to cul­ti­vate re­fine­ment. Tea cer­e­mony is not a cer­e­mony; we should all live our daily lives with its spirit in mind. Re­ceiv­ing a bowl of tea and the sim­ple act of ap­pre­ci­at­ing it can purge your mind. Peace­ful­ness can be achieved through a bowl of tea. Re­cently Ms. Mi­dori Oe, Wife of Am­bas­sador of Ja­pan to Pak­istan and Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Islamabad For­eign­women As­so­ci­a­tion has or­ga­nized an ex­clu­sive Ja­panese Tea Cer­e­mony re­cently at the Ifwa­cen­tre. The cer­e­mony was ex­quis­ite re­flec­tion of Ja­panese cul­ture. The event was widely at­tended by women of di­verse back­grounds and cul­tures.

*Ex­clu­sive­ly­forthediplo­maticin­sight

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